On Friday, Louisiana state Representative Nita Hutter (R-104th, St. Bernard) prefiled HB 509 in the state House. The legislation would move the Pelican state's presidential primary from the second (or third) Saturday in February to the first Saturday following the first Tuesday in March. This is the same date the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee pinpointed for the contest in a resolution it passed last month. Coming out of that meeting, the consensus among Republicans in the state seemed to place a greater emphasis on following the Republican National Committee's rules for delegate selection and avoiding the penalties (losing half the delegation) associated with a violation of the timing rules.
With both chambers nearly evenly divided between the parties -- Republicans holding a narrow advantage in the House and Democrats likewise in the Senate1 -- this is not a move that Republicans can necessarily move easily through the legislature and onto the desk of Republican governor, Bobby Jindal. That said, Democrats should technically be motivated to pull the Louisiana primary into compliance with the DNC rules for delegate selection as well. And the proposed date for the primary is non-controversial enough to keep it as early as is allowed by both national parties -- avoiding penalties -- and should provide the state with an early enough position to provide Louisiana primary voters with a voice in the 2012 nomination process. In other words, it should pass barring Florida or Missouri-like shenanigans.
The Louisiana legislature formally convenes on April 25.
1 Due to party switches in the state Senate since the first of the year, the Louisiana Senate is no longer controlled by Democrats.